In this economy, undoubtedly many agencies are feeling the pinch of clients looking to scale down on PR or possibly even cut their agency all together.
And despite many a rational appeal on why this is probably not a good idea, it will inevitably be the case for many PR agencies. “Going silent,” especially in a rough economy just speeds up the process of your brand falling out the consciousness of stakeholders. So, how do you convince your clients of this? We’ve developed five ways (or call them recommendations) on things you should do that can help keep your clients around.
1) Face time. This is a simple one, but it’s true. Despite all the “green” pitches we send out about how teleconferencing and other technologies cut down on travel costs and are good for the environment, there is no substitute for meeting with your clients in person. It helps deepen the relationship. When was the last time you saw your clients?
2) What have you done for me lately? When it comes time to cut part of the marketing budget, which unfortunately is one of the first things to go when money gets tight, your client will inevitably think, “What has PR done for me lately?” So, what have you done for them? Scored a big media placement? Written a killer case study or white paper that generated new business? The key here is to keep your PR plan full of projects that are crucial to your client’s business and they can in no way envision cutting out of the mix.
3) Ask your clients questions.Is PR aligning with your business goals? How have your business goals changed? Now is no time to be a yes man (or woman). You need to have insight into your client’s business and how PR can help move the needle. If you don’t, you will be moved up on the “things to cut” list.
4) Stick With What You Know Will Work This may be a point of contention for some, but the point here is that most clients will never complain with a nice piece of coverage in BusinessWeek. However they might complain if you suggest they invest time and money into a webinar and the turnout or lead generation is low. Stay true to “bread and butter” PR tactics and go easy on the new experiments you’ve always wanted to try out. The key is that it’s time to do good work and not waste your client’s hours.
5) Measure. Measure. Measure. Advertising agencies spend countless hours analyzing media spends and things like “brand recall” yet they still find it hard to put an exact value on a program. Regardless, you should be doing all you can to measure your programs and provide quantifiable results to your clients. This means different things for different programs, but if you’re not doing it, your lunch will get eaten by someone who is.
What else are we missing? Add your thoughts in the comments.